The Northern Cities Vowel Shift is radically changing the sound of English:
Despite fears that the growth of TV and radio would homogenize English dialects in the US, the Great Lakes region (from Syracuse to Milwaukee) has been in fact diverging with respect to how people there pronounce English words. Rob Mifsud writes: Consider the three-letter words that begin with b and end in t: bat, bet, bit, bot, and but. All five of those words contain short vowel sounds. Their long-vowel equivalents—bate, beet, bite, boat, boot, and bout—arrived at their modern pronunciations as a result of the Great Vowel Shift that began around 1400 and established the basic contours of today’s English. But those short vowels have remained pretty much constant since the eighth century—in other words, for more than a thousand years. Until now. [more inside]
posted by Cash4Lead
on Aug 24, 2012 -
is a database of different accents in English from all over the world. It provides soundfiles and IPA
transcriptions of 110 words in 110 separate dialects and Germanic languages closely related to English. Most dialects and languages are current but there are also reconstructions of older stages of English, Scots and Germanic. That makes for 12100 soundfiles that load directly into your browser. The site can be navigated either by dialect or individual word and there's also a handy Google map
of all the different dialects and languages. If you've ever wondered what the difference was between a Somerset and a Norwich accent, New Zealand and Australian, Canadian and American or Indian and Glaswegian, Sound Comparisons
is the site to go to.
posted by Kattullus
on Mar 5, 2008 -
English Accents and Dialects.
The British Library has compiled an online archive of northern speech dating back to the 19th century. The recordings range from from audio from Victorian cylinder dictaphones to 1950s football fans chanting.
posted by Masi
on Aug 1, 2004 -
It's Not What You Say, It's The Way That You Say It:
George Bernard Shaw famously remarked that every time an Englishman opens his mouth it's guaranteed that another Englishman will despise him. This website offers a motley and unintentionally hilarious collection of the many, ever-growing pronunciations of the English language. The variety is so wide you could almost be listening to different languages. But is a particular accent still an anti-democratic barrier, strictly revealing your position on the socio-geographic ladder, as it was in the days Nancy Mitford discussed U and non-U vocabulary
? Or have upper-class accents
in the U.K. and U.S. (note the Boston Brahmin
samples), once coveted and preferred, now become the opposite: unforgivable impediments? Does posh speech exist in Canada, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand as it does in the U.K. and U.S.? In other words: Does it still matter?
(Quicktime Audio for main and fourth link; Real Audio for third.
posted by MiguelCardoso
on Sep 20, 2003 -
Coffee, our nan?
Is this "Would you like some more coffee, Grandmother?" or Kofi Annan? Oh and mathowie - are you sure the Irish Haughey
is pronounced Howie
? [Check out Charles Haughey for the proper way.
] Thank you, Voice of America, for teaching us how to pronounce those pesky foreigners' names. And shame on you, BBC Pronouncing Unit
, for not being online
! [This last link requires Real Audio but is really worth listening to if you have anything against stuck-up English twits.
posted by Carlos Quevedo
on Apr 12, 2003 -
How do you say "caramel?"
Unlike most Internet quizzes and surveys, Dr. Vaux's Dialect Survey won't pigeon-hole you into one of a finite set of types ("Your speech is most similar to Generic West Coast Dot-Commer, but with a trace of Oklahoma Trailer Park.") Which is just as well since folks like George Bernard Shaw
, HL Mencken
, and David Foster Wallace
would tell us that pronunciation varies with the individual, and doesn't quite fall neatly into a standard type with odd variances. Rather, this survey is a purely academic method for collecting information on who says what where, and the maps at the end are interesting to look at. I know that the pop/soda/cola variance has been visited before
, but what's up with people using "hosey" to refer to the "shotgun" seat of a car?
(requires registration if only to track your answers)
posted by bl1nk
on Oct 11, 2002 -